Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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Insects in Picture Books

This is not an exhibition about famous insect characters in children's books. Even if the list included many more names than E. B. White's spider Charlotte, Lewis Carroll's caterpillar, or La Fontaine's cicada, it would still be much shorter than one for mammals.

Illustrations in children's books encourage little readers to identify with furry creatures, as "Beatrix Potter, Fabulist" shows. But insects, with their compound eyes, antennae, wings, and three pairs of legs, are frequently represented in ways that provoke fear, disgust, and annoyance, with the notable exception of books on microscopy or natural history. Try to keep an open mind, even if you think bugs are icky.

The exhibition celebrated (if that is the right word) the emergence of seventeen-year cicada brood X in the Northeast the summer of 2004, which coincided with Reunions. To recapture the spirit (and learn a lot about magicicada), visit the periodical cicada website.